Nature Noted

Notes on a changing Nature

Location: Bellville, Texas, United States

I never would have predicted this one

Monday, January 24, 2005

Outing the Inholdings

In many wilderness areas of the United States are pieces of land called inholdings. Grandfathered patches that were privately owned before the public area around it was designated. Add them all together, and they equal well over a million acres nestled inside federal and state lands. 1300 acres of inholding in the middle of the Trinity Alps Wilderness of Northern California will soon be absorbed into the federal land, thanks to a $3 million loan, and collaboration between the Forest Service and the Wilderness Land Trust. The deal is outlined in this article in the Redding Record Searchlight (reg. req.). For those who don't want to register, here's the meat of the article.

"For most wilderness lands, the rules are rigid: No development, no road building, no vehicle access.
But many private lands within wilderness areas date to the 19th century, long before protections were established. Owners of these properties have the same rights with their land as they would anywhere else.
"We have no say as to what they do with their property," Frey said. "They could log it. They could build a ski lodge."
And the Forest Service would be "almost obligated" to allow roads to be built through the wilderness to access the private in-holdings, he said.
In this case, timber company Siller Brothers Inc. and the Forest Service had negotiated the sale for decades, but long clashed over the value, Frey said.
The situation changed when the company, which has an office in Anderson, decided to reconsolidate its holdings, Frey said.
Enter Wilderness Land Trust, a group with the sole purpose of buying private wilderness lands from willing sellers, and transferring them to the public.
After a year of negotiation, the trust purchased Siller's land. It took two more years before the Forest Service could muster enough money from timber receipts to acquire the land from the trust.
The Carbondale, Colo.-based trust paid for the deal with a loan from a source that asked to remain anonymous, said the trust's president, Reid Haughey. The source will be paid back with the money from the Forest Service, he said.
Using a third party like the wilderness trust often helps transfers move along faster, Haughey said.
"If it were simple to sell land to the United States, we wouldn't have a purpose," he said"

The Wilderness Land Trust has a stated ten year goal of eliminating inholdings in existing Wilderness areas. It also wants to expand to eliminate inholdings in future proposed wilderness areas under active consideration. The Trust says it has already purchased and transfered 200 parcels of inholdings in seven western states. It has recently expanded from its home office in Carbondale, Colorado to add offices in San Francisco and Seattle.

And a Tennesse note... Robbie Hassler of Pickett county has donated the conservation easement for her 155 acre farm to the Land Trust For Tennessee, and she wants her friends to do the same. The Trust was founded by current Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen when he was mayor of Nashville. Who knew our governor was a Land Trust fan?


Anonymous Jason E said...

"Inholding", when broken down to the linguistic structures, is nothing more than a misrepresentation of frontiers lifestyles. Eviro-elitists such as yourselves forget that these communities and land parcels are often the cultural attractiveness that brings our National Wilderness Areas to life. Private land, that is owned by private citizens are not "in" the wilderness, they are surrounded by the land created AFTER the private occupation. In this country, we support citizens living in alternative settings, we should not subject our hertiage boundaries to the concepts of wilderness. "Holding" in also not a legitimate term. These communities are not "holding" on to anything that is not rightfully theirs...they own the land and are not holding is theirs. Perhaps the envir-elitists would benefit from a visit to many of these communities, rather than sitting behind a computer in their office. The real cultural interpretations of wilderness are within these communities and it is time that they are supported, rather than cut down from the wilderness movement.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Susan in the Pink Hat said...

As a person who visits National Parks and wilderness areas, I am in support of buying up these private lands if the lands are bought and not seized away from private owners. As much as the privileged, few owners of inholdings want to watch satellite TV from their jacuzzi on their deck, we should not be supporting a "heritage" of land degradation. People go to the wilderness to experience the wild.

10:07 AM  

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